Senate transportation budget follows House on fish, ferries

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Democrats in the Washington Senate have released their two-year transportation budget, proposing $9.9 billion in spending on areas that broadly mirror a counterpart proposal in the state House.

The budget, unveiled by the head of the Senate transportation committee Tuesday, includes money to begin electrifying the state’s ferry system, jump-start planning on a replacement for the I-5 bridge across the Columbia River, and make a start on a multi-billion-dollar court order over salmon spawning barriers.

The plan comes as part of the larger process of setting the state’s overall spending and fundraising levels, which the Legislature goes through every two years, and comes the day after Democrats in the state House released their own transportation budget.

Despite broader criticism from Republicans over Democratic spending proposals for the state operating budget, the transportation proposals brought less early debate, with Republicans in both the House and Senate transportation committees calling them reasonable.